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Faculty Development Committee

Minutes for November 20, 2001
4 PM Faculty Center
Humanities Annex

Present: Harold Hinds (Chair), Bert Ahern, Stacey Parker Aronson, and Gordon McIntosh

Absent: Doug Reese, Mike Rea, and Cyrus Pansch

Quality of Life Survey Issues - Stacey Aronson
Aronson distributed an analysis of the Quality of Life Survey that had been conducted by the 1995 Faculty Development Committee [FDC]. Noting that the faculty had grown by 4% and had significant turnover in the last six years, Aronson suggested the value of conducting such a survey again and every 3 to 4 years in the future. The report also commented specifically on 4 questions that were most directly related to the mission of the FCLT and the FDC: #11 "What factors have made you grumble in the last 5 years?" #23 "Are there any other ways you think the Faculty Center for Learning and Teaching can be helpful to you?" #25 "How could campus governance be improved in a way that would further your development and performance as a faculty member?" #26 "What could the University administration do to further your development and performance as a UMM faculty member?" Since the committee did not have the full survey in front of it, the discussion focused on the basic value of conducting such a survey. A survey can do more harm than good if it does not provide information back to the faculty in-cluding a plan of action for addressing areas of concern. Some frustration has been expressed with the 1995 survey for a failure to follow-up on this. Thus, if the FDC goes forward with another survey, the process should be explicit about how the results will be disseminated and pursued. Prior to the next meeting of the committee members will receive a copy of the 1995 survey, Stacey Aronson will interview Engin Sungur about the purposes and design of the 1995 instrument and Bert Ahern will seek samples of such surveys done elsewhere.

Progress report on IT project.
Ahern reported that the "Gang of Five" IT leadership team had met twice and were setting a productive agenda. Good news was that these faculty have been designated as the liberal arts faculty for the NTNT project with an augmentation to the stipend which they receive for participation in this work

Faculty Center and Teaching Discussions
The Committee spoke briefly about ways to encourage conversations about teaching. Proposals included inaugurating a series of presentations on teaching to parallel the TAFS series on faculty research; brown bag discussions; book groups. Ahern expects to add at least one of these initiatives in the spring semester.

Faculty Center and the UMM Academy of Distinguished Teachers
Ahern reported that the UMM Academy members planned to become more active in encouraging attention to teaching excellence on the campus. They are meeting later in the day to discuss their plans including a campus conference on teaching during spring semester. Last year's all-Univesity Conference on teaching excellence will alternate with campus-based conferences. FDC members welcomed initiatives from the UMM Academy members. As to a spring conference, they discussed possible approaches. One suggestion was that a few members of the academy agree to report on a teaching failure and how they reversed it.

The next meeting is scheduled for Dec. 4 [later changed to Dec. 11]. The primary order of busi-ness will be to discuss possible topics for theFall Retreat of 2002.

Bert Ahern, secretary